What do Denisonians Think of Smoking and Vaping?

By Will Duquette

Smoking has undeniably decreased across the United States over the last few decades, with smoking among young adults decreasing from 35% in 2001-2003 to 12% in 2019-2022.

However, in the wake of smoking’s downfall, vaping has increased dramatically. Most would agree that both hobbies are unquestionably bad for you. But anyone who has gone out on a Friday or Saturday night at Denison would know that smoking and vaping occur, sometimes in large numbers, leading us to wonder how many Denisonians vape and smoke and how positively Denisonians view smoking and vaping.

Which Students Vape and Smoke?

It is reassuring to see that most students do not vape and smoke. 72% of students have not vaped in the last month, and 76% have not smoked in the last month. Only 10% of students said they vaped very often or often in the last month, and 4% said they smoked very often or often in the last month. How do smoking and vaping break down by class year? Freshmen appear to, on average, smoke and vape the least, while juniors smoke the most on average. But seniors vape the most on average.

How do different political groups view smoking and vaping?

Looking at the plot below, it seems clear that vaping appears to be viewed more warmly than smoking. No group has an average warmth rating over 50 for smoking. The variance among opinions of smoking is relatively small compared to vaping. There is some variance in the opinions of each political group when it comes to smoking, but vaping has much more variance in opinions.

Independents view vaping the most negatively on average, followed by Strong Democrats. We were surprised to see how positively the right viewed vaping. Granted, there is an issue with small sample sizes on that side of the political spectrum, but it is still an interesting observation. In fact, independents that lean Republican view vaping the most positively, which is a surprising result. Note: The point size represents the population that fits into that category.

In what situations are people smoking and vaping?

A sizable portion of the Denison population smokes, certainly not a majority, but enough to wonder where they do it. For both smoking and vaping, it is overwhelmingly clear that people smoke at parties and when drinking. This would make sense to anyone who has heard of “drunk cigs.” After that, the values for smoking and vaping are highly correlated. It is indubitably clear that smoking is bad in any context, but it is encouraging that people are not smoking to kill their appetite because myriad issues would follow that. The only difference between where people smoke and where they vape is that more people vape out of habit than those who smoke out of habit. This would seem to suggest that more vapers are addicted to vaping than smokers are to smoking.

How warmly do smokers and vapers view Greek Life?

Anyone who has ever been to a frat party at Denison knows that cigarettes can make an appearance. The concept of “drunk cigs” is believed by fraternity brothers everywhere. We posit that those who smoke view Greek life more positively than those who do not. The results that we have found confirm our hypothesis that those who smoke and vape view greek life more positively. This would make sense, given that most of those who smoke and vape do so when partying, and many parties happen at fraternities.

Although the results for smoking and vaping are not the same, there are some similarities. The general trend is the same: the more people smoke (until we reach very often), the more positively they view Greek Life. It makes sense that those who smoke the most often break the stated trend because those who often smoke most likely are doing so out of habit rather than at parties.

Although hard data about smoking at Denison over time may be hard to come by, at least anecdotally, it seems like more smoking is taking place than in the past. Some legitimate scientific studies show that vaping is healthier than smoking, but it is still clear that both are bad. Smoking and vaping are done by many students in many contexts, and no two students are the same. But given the number of students who smoke and vape, it might be helpful for the school to make suggestions to students about other activities that can take place when partying and reducing stress.

Will Duquette is a senior who will hopefully be graduating this semester. However, as his obsession with chess continues, it drastically increases the probability he does not graduate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s